The stage is set at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library.
Here's what's happening today to celebrate the launch of Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace.
First, in the morning there's a book launch party for school children who are still displaced by Superstorm Sandy.
Hosted by the Ocean County Library in Toms River NJ, about a hundred fourth, fifth and sixth graders will be treated to fun, crafts and activities. We'll chat a little about writing and reading and they'll get a taste of the first chapter of Hiding Out at The Pancake Palace (which takes place in an imaginary town in Ocean County).
The people at the library wanted a happy feel good event. It's been a tough six months here. We're still working on restoring and rebuilding. Most of the children invited are from the barrier islands, which were pummeled by Sandy. They're still waiting for their schools to be rebuilt (and most likely their homes too).
As soon as my publisher Roaring Brook Press found out what the Ocean County Library had planned, they generously offered to donate copies of the book. The Ocean County Library donated some too, and of course, I happily joined in. Now every child who attends this party will leave with an autographed copy of the book. There will be some other giveaways. The people at the Ocean County Library know how to throw a party and they've worked so hard to make this day special.
Hiding Out At The Pancake Palace is about a superstar boy who freezes on stage in a televised talent show. To escape the paparazzi, he hides in the Pinelands of New Jersey. There's lots of local folklore in the story and the famous blueberries, cranberries, sugar sand and music of the Pinelands make their appearance in the book too. I wrote this book way before Sandy, but after seeing how tough and resilient the people of my adopted state have been, I am so proud this story takes place in New Jersey.
I wish you all could see way the stage is decorated and there's this really cool spinning wheel (like the ones they have at carnivals) that's filled with pancakes and all sorts of references from the book. Oh and there's a amazing cut out poster where kids can put their face in the opening so it looks like they are "hiding out" with the book.
In the evening there will be a book talk/author event open to the public. So if you happen to be in Toms River New Jersey at 7:00 on April 16th, stop by the library.